Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Montreal Motorcycle Show

BMW R Nine T With Retro Fairing
Tres Chic... 😎

The last time I was at the Montreal Motorcycle Show was back in 2015 with my buddy Mr. Percy Hart, aka Junkyard Villain. It was an exciting year for the industry and motorcyclists alike as there were new models including but not limited to the Indian Scout, the Scrambler Ducati and most notably the Triumph Thruxton; specifically, the Ace Cafe SE. Other noteworthy mentions were Yamaha's Bolt and of course their venerable FZ 07 and FZ 09, all three models are still going strong with various iterations having been introduced since. There were also some interesting electric bikes on offer, notably Quebec's Lito Green Motion (LGM) The Sora; albeit at a ridiculous price tag that has since increased from $43, 000 then to $77, 000 today! Electric bikes in general were few and far between and the excitement and energy that was present in the past seemed to have been missing this year. Perhaps it was because it was day one of the show or perhaps it was because 2015 represented the rebirth of so many iconic models and brands whereas 2017 represented the loss of notable marques like Victory.

The Elephant in The Room:
Indian Motorcycles


Custom Indian Scout

If I were to compare both shows, I'd have to say that this years event was somewhat lacklustre in comparison to 2015. Not surprisingly Victory was only present in the way of dealers desperately trying to sell whatever remaining stock they had left. Their demise, for better or worse, has left the American motorcycle industry noticeably shocked. Polaris has laid out its plans to focus its business plan solely on Indian which would be fine if not for the fact that Polaris seems to have become complacent in their offerings. Their big reveal was hardly inspiring and seems to have completely and utterly embraced the North American concept of bigger must be better! 😖



Their most interesting models that could be purchased off the floor were, oddly enough, their trikes. I have a not so secret admiration of sidecars. If I were to ever buy such a mammoth of a motorcycle a side car would be the way to go in my humble opinion. The remainder of their models were custom jobs. I have also thrown in a noteworthy Victory model that has been customized by another dealer for good measure.




I know that the confederate flag is rather controversial today (and for good reason given the history behind it) having been banned in several states. However, being Canadian and having grown up on the Dukes of Hazzard, I was admittedly ignorant of its contentious history and always thought of the General Lee as being nothing more than one awesome 1969 Dodge Charger. The car always has and will hold a special place in my heart not unlike K.I.T.T.; the A-Team's Van and Herbie The Love Bug to name but a few. These cars were as much an integral part of their respective shows/movies as were the humans who drove them. Thus, when I came across this particular Victory adorned in the traditional General Lee markings, admittedly the child in me felt excited. The feeling was almost akin to when I actually got to see one of the many General Lees on exhibit when I was just a wee lad at the Montreal Car Show back in the 1980s. I actually got to sit inside K.I.T.T. himself and talk to him... all of which was literally a lifetime ago now.

Triumph Motorcycles



The big reveal for Triumph this year was their new Bobber. Like the Scrambler Ducati, it just barely fits me and in comparison to Bella, my own Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, feels small(ish) and toy-like in comparison. I can't fault the fit and finish of the Triumph's new line up. It's a noticeable improvement from their previous bikes. The Bobber itself was pretty but honestly, I would be inclined to save half of the money this thing costs and put it into turning a classic Triumph into a proper Bobber. Triumph is late to the game imho as this style of bike has already been produced by the likes of Harley-Davidson and oddly enough, Yamaha over the last decade. Still, the fit and finish is there and whilst I wouldn't necessarily purchase this particular bike, I would happily buy a Triumph Thruxton. I sat on one today at my local dealer and think its well worth a second look for anyone interested in purchasing a cafe racer styled bike.

Moto Guzzi


Don't worry Bella...
Not Even another Guzzi can Replace you! ;-)

Next to Harley-Davidson and Indian, Moto Guzzi was holding their own at the motorcycle show. Despite having introduced the V7II last year (two years ago in Europe) this year was the launch of the V7III. Remember, I got such a great deal on Bella because of the V7II coming to market. Thus, you can be sure that there will be plenty of V7IIs up for grabs at great prices. Check out the MG website for full details.


Moto Guzzi V7III New Heads

Moto Guzzi V7III

Moto Guzzi V7III

Moto Guzzi V9

Moto Guzzi V7III

Moto Guzzi V7II

Moto Guzzi V7II

Moto Guzzi V7II Stornello
(The exhaust alone makes this bike worth the sticker price!

Moto Guzzi Eldorado

Naturally I am going to be biased when it comes to Moto Guzzi seeing that I own one. That being said, however, I have also criticized Moto Guzzi in the past (The Widow Maker) as much as I have since praised it (The Good, The Bad & The Bella). So suffice it to say, the company, under Piaggio's guidance, has come a long way and is continuing to make leaps and bounds. People who are looking for something different, reliable and rather stylish (as is to be expected by Italians), need look no further than the new V7III. The Stone is said to be released at a sticker price lower than its predecessor. Thus, with its continued refinements, 22 Litre tank and shaft drive, MG is the one to watch!

Honda


Honda Rebel 300

The Honda Africa Twin seemed to be all that anyone could talk about before, during and after it was released.  Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see Honda show some love to its smaller displacement categories in the way of the all new 2017 Honda Rebel. Whilst I suppose you could argue that that Honda is trying to take a piece of the pie from the likes of Harley-Davidson's 500/750 Street or Yamaha's Bolt, their iteration has a late 80's Yamaha Virago-Esque feel to it that is unmistakably cruiser.

Comfy Ergonomics

Rebel 500cc

-12 litre tank

I liked this little bike so much that I am going to go so far as to say it won the show in my opinion. It has the fit and finish that one would expect from Honda but equally its entry level size also came with a very realistic entry level price; $6700 and $4800 respectively which is not too shabby for a new motorcycle.

Royal Enfield


Still a favorite of mine, Royal Enfield has been taken the American market in particular by storm with sales nearly surpassing Harley-Davidson. Sabya Sachi Ghosh swears by them and as his adventures show I'd just as soon take a Himalayan trip on a Royal Enfield than a BMW GS1200.





Inevitably there were many other makes and models at the bike show and had I been there alone I may have taken the time to photograph all of the offerings on hand. However, as it stands, this was as much a family event as it was a way to help me deal with my motorcycle fever. My wife and son were kind enough to take all of the pictures including the following noteworthy mentions below.

We Love Us a Good Scooter!





Start 'Em Young!


Yamaha XSR 900







Custom Made XSR 900 60/40


Preparing For The Day He Plays Chicken!?


Camper Trailer... 










Future Officer?










I'd be lying if I didn't admit that that the whole affair made me miss my Bella all the more. Whilst I confess that there were a few bikes that I would have liked to have taken home with me (i.e. The Honda Rebel, the Yamaha XSR900 and the Moto Guzzi V7II Stornello), I'd have no interest in giving up my Bella up for any of them. At the end of the day we managed to score a proper motorcycle jacket for my missus whilst the kids seemed content with their balloons. With just a few months left until spring arrives, I am looking forward to taking my kitten out for a ride.

Pictures © Jennifer and Joel Corbin

8 comments:

  1. Excellent review, thank you! Sad we lost the Victory Motorcycle brand :-(

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  2. Great read and blog. What happen to BMW

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    1. Ironically, while I lust for BMW's of yesterday (with the exception of the BMW RNineT - pictured above) I am not as drawn to BMW's modern counterparts. Still, you are right, I should have given it more of a look! :-p

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    2. If I remember, it was so hard to get a pic of the BMWS, they had a lot of attention, lots of p people sitting on bikes or milling around...pretty hard to get close enough for a nice picture.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed that! I'm really disappointed we lost the Victory Motorcycle brand, I really liked them. Glad to see Honda is still innovating!

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  4. It was nice to finally go with you! xx

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  5. Great pics and some great bikes. BMW do have some great bikes but the cost of their servicing can be pretty high!

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